Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Holy War

Andrew Sullivan can be extremely annoying, mostly because he is committed to labeling himself a conservative but he has a really difficult time figuring out what it is about his beliefs that could justify that label. He's possibly a moderate Tory by British standards but hey Andrew, you're living in the U.S.A. and it doesn't really translate. He's smart enough to know that Barack Obama is also a moderate Tory and to be a big Obama supporter, but how does that make him "conservative" by U.S. standards? He's also a gay Catholic which is even more ridiculous.

Anyhow, he does a pretty good job here of expressing how the Republican party has left him. To slice out the pith of this essay,

the GOP, deep down, is behaving as a religious movement, not as a political party, and a radical religious movement at that. . . .That's how I explain the current GOP. It can only think in doctrines, because the alternative is living in a complicated, global, modern world they both do not understand and also despise. Taxes are therefore always bad. Government is never good. Foreign enemies must be pre-emptively attacked. Islam is not a religion. Climate change is an elite conspiracy to impoverish America. Terror suspects are terrorists. When Americans torture, it is not torture. When Christians murder, they are not Christians. And if you change your mind on any of these issues, you are a liberal, an apostate, and will be attacked. . . .Think of Michele Bachmann's wide-eyed, Stepford stare as she waits for a questioner to finish before providing another pre-cooked doctrinal nugget. My fear - and it has building for a decade and a half, because I've seen this movement up-close from within and also on the front lines of the marriage wars - is that once one party becomes a church with unchangeable doctrines, and once it has supplanted respect for institutions and civility with the radical pursuit of timeless doctrines and hatred of governing institutions, then our democracy is in grave danger.

Yes indeed, our democracy (if that's what it is in the first place) is in very grave danger. What is equally disturbing is how little awareness of the peril there seems to be on the part of sane politicians and opinion leaders. In particular, the corporate media is treating these refugees from the 12th Century with profound respect. Is it really in the long-term interest of Disney and Comcast and Time Warner to operate in an atavistic theocracy? Why don't they get wise to this?

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